Category Archives: Rear Impact Car Accidents

Low Speed Rear Impact Collision Facts

Low Speed Rear Impact Collision Facts

low speed rear impact car accident injury

Despite What the Insurance Industry Would Like You to Think, Low Speed Rear Impact Collisions (LOSRIC) Do Cause Injuries.

Research Indicates These Collisions are the Most Likely Type of Car Accidents to Cause a Neck Injury. And Here's Why:

When two vehicles collide energy is transferred from one to the other. In simplest terms, when you're at a stop light and another car smacks you from behind, that car transfers its energy into your car. That energy then travels from your bumper, through the chassis of your car, into your seat and eventually into your body. You experience that energy as a jolt or sudden jerk. That sudden movement causes damage to your spine. Medical researchers have figured out a precise energy number at which live test subjects could be injured in a rear impact collision and that number is surprisingly low.

A Typical Car Accident with Vehicle Damage

Again for simplicity, let's say the car that hits you has 10 units of energy to potentially transfer to your car. Now let's say the other cars bumper crushes and that releases 2 units of energy that does not transfer to your car. We now have 8 units left. Your bumper and bodywork crumples as it's designed to do and it absorbs 5 units. There are now only 3 units of energy left that travels to your body and causes a quick but slight jerk to your neck. That slight jerk might still be enough to hurt your neck because researchers have found that it only takes 2.5 units of energy to damage a ligament.

Car Accidents Without Vehicle Damage

Let's take our same example with the car hitting you with a potential of only 8 units of energy because it was driving slower. It strikes your car, but this time the cars collide and there is no crush in either of the bumpers. The cars hit and bounce. That action might only release 2 units between the cars because there is no crushing which releases energy, and so it sends 6 units of energy into your body. That is double the energy from the other example and that has the potential to cause even more injury. So even though there was less energy to begin with and no vehicle damage, your body experiences twice as much damaging energy.

No 2 Crashes Are the Same

There are so many variables to a motor vehicle collision that it is impossible to compare one to another. The types, sizes, weights, speeds of vehicles make a difference. The age, gender, physical fitness, positioning and awareness of the occupants matters. The temperature, condition of pavement, slope of road and more play a role. All of this information and more needs to analyzed to get a true picture of a crash and relate it to potential forces that could cause injury. The auto insurance adjuster will take a quick look at a bumper photo and make a snap judgement. That is not only wrong it is fraudulent. Nobody can make such an assessment off of a simple photo.

If You've Suffered a Car Accident and Need Help, Call Us Immediately (714) 938-0575. We Can Help You Navigate the Complex World of Car Accidents Providing Expert Evaluations and Diagnoses, Proper Treatment and Solid Documentation That Results in a Fair Settlement.



Types of Rear-Impact Automobile Collisions

Types of Rear Impact Automobile Collisions and How Bumpers Play a Role

types of rear impact automobile collisions

Scientific and medical researchers have proven over the years that “rear-impact” type collisions produce the most injuries to occupants.

The way your spine is configured, the construction of automobile seats, chassis and bumpers all play a role in how you may become injured in a crash. The fact that a collision is a rear-impact versus a front or side impact, raises the odds of suffering an injury and worsens your prognosis (long-term outlook for recovery).

Car Crash 101

What happens when 2 cars collide? As an example we will say a vehicle is at a complete stop. This is the “target” vehicle. Another vehicle that is moving is known as the “bullet” vehicle. The bullet vehicle strikes the target vehicle in the rear. The moving vehicle has a mass and speed that will deliver a force to the stationary vehicle. This force is energy and according to physics, whatever energy is put into the collision an equal amount must come out of the collision. A minimal part of the energy is dissipated as sound, part of the energy is absorbed by the bullet vehicle deforming and the rest of the energy goes into the struck vehicle. If the struck vehicle crushes, energy will be bled off as the metal and plastic deforms and crushes. After deformation, there may still be energy left over. This energy moves through the chassis of the vehicle, it may make the struck vehicle move forward lessening energy even more. If more energy is left over, that energy causes forces on the occupant’s body and if it is enough, results in tissue damage.

There are many variables that dictate how much energy is created in a collision and how much energy there is that can be injurious. Things like size and weights of the vehicles, the speed the vehicles are traveling, how the vehicle’s bumpers line up, if the struck vehicle is manual or automatic transmission, if the road is wet or dry, is the struck vehicle is on an up or down slope, etc. The uniqueness of each crash is because of all the variables that can be involved.

The Role of Bumpers in Rear End Car Accidents

Rear end collisions can be further subdivided and injury potential increases or decreases with each variety. The possibilities of impact types are endless, so we will stick with the most common scenarios seen in the real world that you may become victim to.

Rear-impact, Well Aligned Bumpers That Crush

rear impact auto collision This is the most favorable of “rear enders.” If you have a choice in your car crash, pick this one! When 2 cars collide and the vehicle bumpers are roughly the same height, the bumpers strike each other and do their jobs, namely crush and absorb energy to protect you. Energy is transferred from the striking vehicle into the target vehicle. Energy is absorbed by crush of plastic and metal, sound and some heat. If a lot of energy is dissipated in this way, then less energy is transmitted through the chassis, into your seat and ultimately into your body. More energy to your body means more injury, so we want the bumpers to crush a lot. If each vehicle has crushable bumpers that line up well, the amount of injury you suffer is reduced.

Rear-impact Misaligned Bumpers; Striking Vehicle Hits above Target Vehicle Bumper

rear impact car accident injuryIn this case, the 2 bumpers did not line up well. Maybe the striking vehicle’s bumper hits your bumper, but it mostly goes above it and strikes the rear trunk lid. This is less favorable than well aligned bumpers because the struck vehicle’s bumper did not get to bleed off energy. The rear of the car above the bumper may crush, but it does not contain energy absorbing materials that are scientifically designed to reduce energy, so more energy is sent through the chassis, into the seat and into your body.

Rear-impact Misaligned Bumpers; Striking Vehicle Hits below Bumper (Submarine impact)

rear impact submarine collisionIt’s pretty easy to understand why these are called “submarine” impacts as the striking vehicle is like a sub that hits a ship below the water line. These impacts occur because the striking vehicle is lower than your vehicle or the striking vehicle is hard on the brakes trying to stop so its nose is low on impact. Sometimes the striking vehicle becomes wedged under the struck vehicle. Similar to above, the struck vehicle’s bumper does not get involved to reduce damaging energy, so you get hurt more. An added component that may cause more damage than above the bumper strikes is the force is delivered into the rear and there is an upwards component causing you to feel a quick pop up your spine not just front to back. This results in increased chance of lower back injuries.

Rear-impact, Well Aligned Bumpers, but Struck Vehicle has Steel Bumper or Trailer Tow Package Installed

rear end truck collisionRemember that the more the colliding bumpers crush, the less energy and therefore injury can occur to your body. What happens when the struck vehicle is a pick-up truck or SUV that has a steel, non-deformable rear bumper? These pretty, chrome step-bumpers look nice and can take a beating without showing damage, but what they also do is transmit large amounts of force through the vehicle chassis and directly into an occupant’s body causing damage. These bumpers can be struck at 20 mph and show very little damage. The striking car, if it has crushable front bumper, may look like a bug squashed against a windshield when they hit these bumpers. Having a trailer hitch or tow package also increases the amount of injurious energy into the occupant because they add rigidity to the rear of the vehicle, do not deform and are connected directly to the chassis. The converse of this situation is also true: if a vehicle with a steel, less deformable bumper strikes a conventional rear bumper, the amounts of force delivered by the steel bumper is more than if both cars had crushable bumpers. The frustrating dichotomy of this particular type of rear-end collision is that if you are in a vehicle with a steel bumper and suffer a rear impact, the potential for injury is greatly increased, BUT because there is low property damage, auto insurance adjusters tend to discount these cases. It is important to always take photos at the scene of an accident, not just of your vehicle but of any other vehicles involved as well. Pictures of a severely damaged vehicle that left only a dent on your steel bumper goes a long way to explaining damaging forces involved in the collision.

Rear-impact Automobile Collisions Summary

Rear-impact motor vehicle collisions have been shown to cause more damage than other types of crashes. Many variables are involved that predict bodily damage by a rear collision. Bumper design and vehicle alignment are a important variables that can predict if the occupant(s) of a struck vehicle will suffer relatively more or less injury. Each car collision is unique due to the myriad of variables involved in car crashes.

If you've suffered a car accident in Orange County, help is nearby. Call our office at (714) 938-0575 now and get the help you need from an experienced car accident injury expert.  Any doctor can treat a car accident injury, but only a true car accident specialist knows all the ins and outs and can assist you through this difficult time.